LAG reborn – Save our lead Shot newsletter No1

Save Our lead Shot

SOS to all shooters

News letter – July 2015

The phoenix has risen. The Lead Ammunition Group web site the phoenix has risen from the ashes. The LAG web site had been managed by BASC but after they withdraw their support from the group, the web site was closed down and now it has been reborn. It now has a new web address .

The new web site has all the previous minutes of the group and has published the minutes of the 13th LAG meeting held on the 26th May 2015, after the resignations of 5 out of 9 members on the LAG , the four remaining members of the group are Dr. James Kirkwood, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare;  Prof. Len Levy, Institute of Environment and Health; Dr. Debbie Pain, WWT;  Prof. Rhys Green, RSPB and John Swift chairman, ex CEO BASC and Dr. Ruth Cromie of the WWT is now carrying out the Secretariat for the group.

The LAG first met in May 2010 and it was hoped that the report would be finished by 2012. I was told that the LAG was only waiting for the Harris report on people who eat lead shot game from Scotland. The Harris report was based on a phone survey of  200 people who regularly eat lead shot game.

The Harris report was given to the Food Standards Agency who by-passed the LAG and came out with their own recommendation.

FSA Director of Food Safety Dr Alison Gleadle said: “This advice is targeted specifically at the small number of people who eat lead-shot game on a frequent basis. To minimise the risk of lead intake, people who frequently eat lead-shot game, particularly small game, should cut down their consumption. This advice is especially important for vulnerable groups such as toddlers and children, pregnant women and women trying for a baby, as exposure to lead can harm the developing brain and nervous system.”

The LAG minutes recorded the fact the FSA had issued its own advice, to the frustration of the chairman. In my view that should have been the end of the LAG but no, they agreed to carry on regardless.

Minutes of the 7th  Lead Ammunition Group meeting – 11 February  2013

 3.7. The Chairman admitted to having been frustrated by the FSA’s publication of its own advice on lead in game meat during 2012 as it had been widely viewed as cutting across the LAG process which it had set up. The meeting agreed that this does not affect the Group’s programme.

The work of the LAG continued until May this year when Sir Barney White-Spunner  resigned together with four others. BASC could not resign as they where never members of the LAG. They said that they withdraw their support from the group.

Sir Barney White-Spunner said in his resignation letter:

“I have consistently pointed out that I agreed with the first “Evaluation of the Risks to Wildlife” paper, written by Dr Alastair Leake and Dr John Harradine, as did four other members of the group. I did not agree with commissioning a second paper which was also, like the Human Health paper, written by Dr Debbie Pain and Professor Rhys Green. Neither did I agree with the preparation of a so called consensus paper which relied disproportionately on this second paper and which, again, has never actually been agreed by the full group.”


In John Batley’s letter of resignation he points to the fact that the Chairman’s draft report “offers a solution through the phasing out of lead in ammunition which would lead to an eventual ban. For my own part, I firmly believe that the FSA Guidance on the consumption of lead shot game could achieve proportionate and sensible advice without the necessity for such a ban.”

We now know that the Minister, Liz Truss has two reports, one from the members left on the LAG and the other from the shooting organisations that resigned from the LAG.

The lead ban for wildfowling was brought in using a Parliamentary device called a Statutory Instrument or SI. Under the rules of issuing a SI the government has to consult all sides and if there is an agreement the Minister can sign the SI.

In the case of Lead over wetland for wildfowling this agreement was agreed between the WWT and BASC. I was told at the time by a senior civil servant in the wildlife department in Bristol that if BASC had not agreed to the restriction on lead over wetland, they did not have the evidence to get it through parliament as an amendment bill. I believe that if BASC had said ‘NO’ at the time and used there now infamous sound bite “No evidence – No change” there would not have been a ban on lead for wildfowling.

Back to today and the two LAG reports, if the two reports conflict and there is no agreement the Minister under the SI rules would not be allowed to make any further restrictions on the use of lead ammunition using a Statutory Instrument.

To bring in any further restrictions on lead ammunition it would need to be by an amendment bill to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and if they have not got the evidence, any bill would be unlikely to pass the committee stages through Parliament, if such a bill was tabled at all.

Ian Summerell


Save Our lead Shot campaign



Is the LAG fit for purpose?

Lead shot gate part 3 By Ian Summerell Gunmaker 2012

Is the LAG fit for purpose?

The Lead Ammunition Group has posted the latest minutes on their web site.

I have concerns that some of the very people we have been lead to believe are on our side as shooters have hidden agendas of their own and we have not been told the whole story regarding lead shot.

Two years ago I was given the minutes of the BASC Research Advisory Committee held on the 18th November 2009, in the hope that I would write a report for one of the shooting magazines.

The recommendation of the research advisory committee to the BASC Council was that members should anticipate a ban on lead ammunition sooner rather than later.


AP3 – MA to recommend to Council in January that bans on lead ammunition are anticipated sooner rather than later and that members should be prepared for early change.


At the next BASC council meeting, the minutes of which you can view online, only say that the minutes of the committee are noted.

From BASC council minutes Jan 2010.


C.1.1. To note the Minutes of the Research Advisory Committee Meeting held on 18th November, 2009


The Minutes of the Research Advisory Committee meeting were noted.

The recommendation was not voted on, so it has not been passed or rejected by the BASC Council. But, I believe that some members of the BASC staff are working to the minutes of the BASC Research Advisory Committee. They are also looking at rifle and air weapon ammunition.

At the same time John Swift was in communications with the labour Government Minster, Hilary Benn MP’s office about lead in ammunition. Huw Irranca-Davies replied to John Swift’s letter saying I recognise that this is a complex issue and note the concerns of the RSPB, the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust and yourselves.  I am not aware of any new research that has been conducted that shows that lead ammunition residues or spent lead shot is a real threat to the conservation of wildlife in general in England.”


Are the BASC working together with the RSPB and the WWT? It very much looks like it reading this.

The most important part of this letter is not the fact that BASC, WWT and RSPB are working together on this, it is that Huw says: “I am not aware of any new research.” So to get over this they are writing the new research themselves.

The WWT had a hand in the Harris report for the Food Standards Agency [FSA] and the BASC and WWT wrote the Cromie report on the Compliance with the environmental Protection (Restriction on the use of lead shot) (England) Regulations 1999, which has been shown to be unreliable.

At a Deer Initiative meeting when John Swift first became chairman of the Lead Ammunition Group [LAG] he gave us a talk about the LAG. His opening line was “There is lead in the food chain we have to find ways to reduce it”.

I was lead to believe that the BASC had to take over the secretariat of the LAG as the government had cut the funding. I later found out that this was misleading. The plan was for the civil service staff to set the committee up and then for the committee to take over the secretariat itself.

In July 2011 at the CLA Game Fair, I started my petition to say no to a wider lead ban for shooting. BASC staff told me that they had been told not to sign the petition, but they did so anyway. On the UCSW stand where I was collecting the signatures, Jeff Knot of the RSPB told me he was on the LAG and he wanted a copy of my Lead Shot-Gate report I had written for the Countryman’s Weekly.

I thought that all the LAG members should have a copy so I emailed the article to the LAG committee direct and asked them to pass it on to all its members. I had a reply from John Swift telling me that the LAG is only looking at peer reviewed scientific papers.

The interesting thing is that Jeff Knott was not a member of the LAG until December 2011 when the Minster appointed him to the committee.

In October last year the WWT was on the BBC news saying they wanted a total lead ban. I recorded it and uploaded the report onto my Youtube channel. So we have the BASC writing to the Minister, a BASC committee recommending members to expect a ban sooner rather than later and the WWT calling for a total ban and both sitting on the LAG.

The LAG was waiting for the Harris report for the FSA to come out before it finishes its work. The report was placed on the FSA web site and the FSA then published its own recommendations, leaving the LAG out in the cold.

That brings us up to the date of the last LAG minutes that can be seen on their web site. You can read the full text there, but here I will pick out some points I would like to comment on.

The minutes are numbered and in italics, my comments are in times roman type.

2.1. The Group was reminded that meetings are conducted strictly under the Chatham House Rule (issues may be discussed outside the meeting but unattributably).

If it is under Chatham House rules, why can we identify people within the minutes, the chairman John Swift, Prof Len Levy and Deborah Pain and that they can have secret meeting outside of the committee?

2.3. All agreed that the Terms of Reference continue to be fit for purpose.


So they have declared themselves “fit for purpose”.

3.2. The Chairman thanked Sir Barney White-Spunner and Mr Mark Tufnell, attending their first Group meeting for agreeing to join the Group; and also thanked all the supporting organisations who continue to support the representatives of the other stakeholder interests.

What is the idea of calling them Stakeholders? More meaningless management speak! Or is it part of Common Purpose?

3.4. The Chairman acknowledged that the Group had fallen behind the originally anticipated time line. He attributed this to the Group’s reliance on experts to do the work of producing risk assessments in their own time, and the need for the risk assessments to meet a very high standard and be properly peer reviewed; the high standard being essential to maximise the possibility for reaching consensus among conflicting interest groups.

So it was all planned and timed? Seems the desired outcome was pre-determined, and they are now whining because the desired outcome is proving difficult to factually establish as legitimate or viable?

3.6. The Chairman acknowledged that some of the public arguments, press and lobbying had been distracting for some; and he reminded the Group that members have a duty not to be distracted.

This is totally out of order. We are members of organisations that have an interest in shooting and our representatives are part of the LAG. We have a right to lobby our own committee members, as a reporter I have the right to question what is being done by the LAG. Sounds like not wanting facts or the truth to get in the way of the agenda to me. More common purpose management ideas?

3.9. The Chairman reported that he had given effort to promote compliance with lead shot regulations over wetlands across Europe as well as in UK. In reply to a question he identified workshops held with other European countries to raise awareness, and noted progress in the Republic of Ireland. He further reported that awareness has been raised that as yet non-compliant countries must take action.

So John Swift is now going around other EU countries telling them, they have to comply with the lead ban over wetlands!   “The Law is what we say it is” which is a lawless State.

What right has John Swift got to tell other countries what to do?

More common purpose management at work?

3.10. The view was expressed that non-compliance with the existing legislation in the UK was unacceptable. The meeting noted that there is a perception, based on significant experience, that coastal wildfowling clubs are already compliant and a multi-organisation campaign will soon be launched by the shooting sector to target wider audiences and ensure that they comply.

What proof? What significant experience? So wildfowler’s are good little boys, it’s the other inland shooters we have to target. If the LAG are only going to look at peer reviewed scientific papers, why are they using the WWT/ BASC report on Compliance?

4.4. The PERA Chairman expressed the view that it would have been preferable to have paid for independent scientific experts to conduct the risk assessments. However, this had not been an option and the stakeholder groups had nominated scientific experts to write draft the risk assessments and review the other risk assessments produced by Subgroup colleagues.


I note that the chairman of the PERA (that is the Primary Evidence and Risk Assessment (PERA) subgroup) Prof Len Levy has expressed a view to the committee. Which under Chatham House Rules he should not have been identified. It’s a total farce.
Overall view.
Its like the star trek ‘Borg’ “you will comply!” They are acting like they are working for a dictatorship. That might be how they see their role under the EU?

Is John Swift using his role within Face EU to forward the agenda of the EU, AEWA and the UN, with total disregard to BASC membership and British Shooting folk?

I have to question John Swift’s position as chairman of the LAG. Which master is he working for? I do not think it is the British shooting man or woman or even BASC members.

How can Deborah Pain of the WWT sit on the LAG any longer? She has already come out and said that she wants a total lead ban for all shooting in the UK. The evidence and work from papers of the WWT which Pain played a major role in, were used in the Harris report for the FSA. So now we have a person setting on a committee and writing and reviewing her own work.

Even the chairman of the PERA thinks it should not have been done this way. So the LAG  is UNFIT FOR PURPOSE!

Ian Summerell    Gunmaker

Minutes of the 13th Lead Ammunition Group meeting – 26th May 2015

Minutes of the 13th Lead Ammunition Group meeting – 26th May 2015

WWT, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire (11am – 7pm)


Dr. James Kirkwood

Prof. Len Levy

Dr. Debbie Pain

Mr. John Swift (Chair)


Dr. Ruth Cromie (WWT)

  1. Welcome and introductions

1.1 Apologies were received from Mr. Mark Tufnell, Mr. Stephen Crouch, Mr. John Batley and Prof. Rhys Green.

1.2 It was noted that the date of the meeting had been selected due to the potential attendance of the majority of LAG members. Some members were subsequently unable to attend.

  1. LAG Process

2.1 There was disappointment at recent resignations of Sir Barney White-Spunner, Mr. Mark Tufnell and Mr. Stephen Crouch.

2.2 The resignation letter from the farming and landowning representative to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had not been seen by the Group and it was felt that out of courtesy this should be provided to the Group for information and to better understand his position.

Action Point 13.1 The Chair to ask Mr. Mark Tufnell for a copy of his resignation letter to the Secretary of State.

  1. Comments on the LAG report

3.1 The vast majority of the meeting was spent in discussion and full consideration of the numerous comments received on the draft of the LAG report. It was noted that it was disappointing that the senders of the comments were not present to be part of the discussion and represent their views.

Action Point 13.2 The Chair to provide feedback on comments on the draft LAG report to Mr. John Batley and Sir Barney White-Spunner (feedback to Mr. Mark Tufnell had already been provided).

  1. Minutes of the 12th Meeting on June 25th 2014

4.1. There were no comments made on the published minutes of the 12th meeting.

4.2. Matters arising from those minutes

Action Point 12.1 Barney White-Spunner to recommend changes to the Code of Good Shooting Practice, which should include direct and specific recommendations on the use of non-lead shot. No action was reported – not carried forward due to resignation from Group.

Action point 12.2 To request FSA to review their guidance on consumption of game and venison in the light of the LAG risk assessments.

Carried forward until FSA have considered the final LAG report.

Action Point 12.3 Prof Levy to seek advice on the possible interaction between iron oxide and agricultural nitrates.

Completed. Information had been provided, and the issue was not considered to be of great significance or concern.

Action Point 12.4 Sir Barney to distribute to the group a 1996 report on ricochet of steel shot conducted by the Royal College of Military Science and commissioned by the Birmingham Proof House.

Completed. A report by Roger Hancox from the Birmingham Proof House had been provided and considered within the report. A separate 1996 report (Giblin and Compton 1996) from the Shrivenham Royal Military College of Science on ballistic properties of non-toxic shot was no longer publicly available however its main findings had been cited within the LAG report.

Action Point 12.5 PERA Subgroup to establish a consistent approach to scoring risks before mitigation and complete that part of the Register for reporting back to the Group.

Completed and formed the basis of the Risk Register.


Action Point 12.6 All to submit any further possible mitigation options to the Mitigation Subgroup.

The Group was not aware of any additional options received.


Action Point 12.7 Mitigation Subgroup to develop mitigation action plans for measures already discussed.

No progress was reported and the Group had not received any.

Action Point 12.8 Chairman to circulate draft proposal for lead forum for comment.

Completed. The proposal had not been supported by a number of members of the LAG and the forum did not take place. Many of the issues that would have been covered at a  lead forum were discussed at an independently run scientific symposium in in December 2014 (the Oxford Lead Symposium).

  1. Significant comments on draft LAG report circulated 10th April 2015

5.1 In light of the comments received, the following areas of the draft LAG report were discussed:

  1. The key risks to wildlife (as in the consensus statement)

No new or additional evidence had been submitted which affected the report’s conclusions on level and scale of risks to wildlife.


  1. The respective levels of those risks in short medium and long term (as set out in the risk assessments, the draft report and relevant appendices)

As above, no new or additional evidence had been provided which materially changed the levels of risks within the report, risk assessments or other appendices.


  1. Possible solutions to any significant risks (as in the relevant sections of the draft report and Register).

There was a discussion on the need to involve strategic communications experts.


Action Point 13.3 Prof. Len Levy to contact Public Health England to help identify most appropriate contacts (checking with FSA to confirm this is the correct procedure).


  1. Possible options for managing the risk to human health from increased exposure to lead as the result of using lead ammunition; notably in terms of food safety, including game shot with lead and spent lead shot on agricultural land

No additional options for managing these risks had been provided.


  1. Significant knowledge gaps that may hinder the identification or assessment of risks, the development of technical solutions or the development of government policy (as set out in the risk assessments and report sections dealing with knowledge gaps and uncertainties)

It was agreed that further contact with the gun trade representative would be valuable. (Post meeting note. John Batley resigned having been invited to comment further.)


Action Point 13.4 The Chair to contact Mr. John Batley to be kept abreast of technical issues.

  1. Communication issues, and possible solutions, concerning the relaying of balanced information on issues surrounding the use of lead ammunition to the media, general public and stakeholders (as in relevant mitigation sections)

It was made clear that once the report is submitted to the Secretary of State, Defra and FSA must be given time to consider its findings and during this time there was an expectation of confidentiality from the LAG. Defra will be aware, from letters from a small number of the LAG shooting stakeholders (plus possibly articles in the shooting press) that there have been recent suggestions that the LAG process is flawed. How Defra will respond to that is not known.

It was agreed and strongly felt that the complete LAG findings should be made public relatively soon as there was interest in the LAG outputs (both from the UK and overseas). If it was not possible to do this within a short timeframe there was a suggestion that although the main report would likely be used for consideration of potential policy development, the risk assessments were bodies of scientific work, much of which was already in the public domain, so could likely be made

available more quickly.

  1. Significant impacts of possible advice or solutions on shooting activity and associated recreational, wildlife management, economic and employment impacts (as in relevant mitigation sections).

Comments received from the gun trade representative had been valuable, but again no new evidence of significant negative impacts on the above had been provided.

  1. Any other matters raised by comments received

6.1 It was noted that despite the recent resignations all comments on the draft LAG report had been fully considered. Again there was a strong sentiment that those who attended this meeting would welcome the chance to clarify some of the comments made even though resignations had been made ahead of dealing with the comments.

  1. Next steps and date of next meeting

7.1 The Chair asked the remaining LAG members about the future of the LAG. There was a discussion about the main purpose of LAG having been completed but that there was still a need for a body to remain in contact with Defra and FSA.

7.2 The next step was for the Chair to complete the last small amendments to the report and prepare a final draft including appendices which would then be submitted to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mrs. Elizabeth Truss.

Action Point 13.5 The Chair to complete the LAG report and submit to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

7.3 Given the resignations and articles in the shooting media, the Chair sought views on confidence in the Chair of the Group continuing in that role. It was noted that the LAG process had taken longer than had been anticipated. However, the members present unanimously expressed confidence in the Chair, and support for the Chair’s continuation in that role. It was agreed that the Chair had had a very difficult task in managing the LAG process over the five years and balancing what were sometimes very polarised views.

Action Point 13.6 Prof. Len Levy to write short note to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in support of the even-handed role played by the Chair.

7.4 In summary, the final report had taken some six months to near completion and although there had been resistance from shooting representatives to its conclusions it was felt that no substantial evidence had been provided which had materially changed these.

  1. Any other business

8.1. No other business was brought to the Group.

  1. Action points carried forward


Action point 12.2 To request FSA to review their guidance on consumption of game and venison in the light of the LAG risk assessments.

Carried forward until FSA have considered the final LAG report.


Action Point 13.1 The Chair to ask Mr. Mark Tufnell for a copy of his resignation letter to the Secretary of State.


Action Point 13.2 The Chair to provide feedback on comments on the draft LAG report to Mr. John Batley and Sir Barney White-Spunner (feedback to Mr. Mark Tufnell had already been provided).


Action Point 13.3 Prof. Len Levy to contact Public Health England to help identify most appropriate contacts (checking with FSA to confirm this is the correct procedure).


Action Point 13.4 The Chair to contact Mr. John Batley to be kept abreast of technical issues.

Action Point 13.5 The Chair to complete the LAG report and submit to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.


Action point 13.6 Prof. Len Levy to write short note to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in support of the even-handed role played by the Chair.

letter From New Zealand hunter to NZ Minister

The number of mallard duck have dropped Neil and other hunters in New Zealand, link the drop in number to the introduce of the lead ban and having to use steel shot. In New Zealand they have a bag limit and the theory is that hunters are shooting more cartridges for the same bag limit, leaving wound birds not picked up. Ian the gun

P O Box 188                                                                                             2/7/15


The Minister of Conservation

Parliament Buildings



Dear Minister

Thank you for your letter of June 23rd. I was pleased to read that the NZ Fish & Game Council is now aware of the mallard problem and that steps are being taken by the Council to help the mallard recovery.

However, the reasons for the dramatic decline of mallards have already been well documented – starting in September 2012, with the “MALLARD DEMISE” article published in NZ GUNS & HUNTING – and no ‘rocket-science’ was/is needed.

Remembering that many duck hunter are the country’s leading waterfowl & wetland conservationists what is needed is just 5 strokes of your Ministerial pen to turn the whole problem around – with the following recommendations being mandatory for all Fish & Game Council regions:

  1. AN IMMEDIATE RESTRICTION ON MAGAZINE CAPACITY OF SEMI-AUTO & PUMP ACTION SHOTGUNSMagazines should be restricted to two cartridges only
  1. AN IMMEDIATE RETURN TO LEAD SHOT IN ALL GAUGES – THIS IS ESSENTIAL IF THE MALLARD IS TO SURVIVE AS A GAMEBIRDSteel increases the percentage of birds not recovered from 7% with lead shot to between 30 & 90% – according to the USA’s Humane Society peer reviewed research.

     I’ve enclosed a copy of the high profile UK’s Countryside Alliance publication on lead

in the environment – this shows that many commonly eaten vegetables contain

elements of lead; none of which has come from lead shot! And, as has already been

determined – no bird or animal has ever died – anywhere in the world – from

ingesting lead shot! And recently there has been significant pro-lead shot/lead

projectile support in three western-bloc countries – Norway, Australia & Austria are

apparent. Eastern-bloc countries do not have a problem with lead!

NZ First also has no problem with the use of lead shot for game bird hunting!

  1. AN IMMEDIATE REDUCTION IN BAG LIMITS – Should be reduced in all regions to no more than 3 per day – until mallard numbers have fully recovered.
  1. AN IMMEDIATE REDUCTION IN THE LENGTH OF THE MALLARD HUNTING SEASON – The season should start on the first Saturday in May and end on Monday of Queen’s Birthday



What is also needed is your input towards a significant improvement in the directional ‘control’ that the NZ Fish & Game Council has over Regional F&G Council’s. Quite obviously in a situation which threatens the very survival of the mallards, as well as the Fish & Game structure, no regional group should be allowed to operate under separate conditions; because mallards widely disperse throughout the country and mallards do not respect regional boundaries – this makes a nonsense of regulations where such extreme regulatory discrepancies exist!

Such a move is also an essential ingredient towards raising the degenerating profile of the Fish & Game structure!

In addition, having just woken up to the fact that predators kill ducks, the NZ Fish & Game National Council needs to actively promote the trapping and elimination of predators in and around wetlands.


In this modern age the term “Peer Reviewed’ is meaningless nonsense – this has been well documented by one of the few ‘honest researchers’ John Reid:

“There are issues concerning the way science and scientists are perceived by the public and themselves.

Why is it that science always gets it right, that only industry is capable of wrecking the environment?

There are issues about the unholy alliance between environmental scientists on the government payroll and environmental activists and lobby groups acting politically.

There are issues about the way scientists continue to produce environmental ‘threats’ which have proven so useful in maintaining projects’ funding.”

In other words – find solutions to a problem that support the philosophy of those funding the project! In respect of NZ Fish & Game any ‘peer review’ in regard to solving the mallard problem must be carried out by totally independent experts!

You might also like to ask the NZ Fish & Came Council why it does not support the captive breeding of mallards. After all, mallards were established in New Zealand through captive breeding – and may well need to be re-established with the aid of captive breeding! In this respect I’ve attached a brief article on the subject – an article published in 2013 that briefly details the history of the mallard in New Zealand. Also enclosed is a copy of the only independent New Zealand research on mallards ingesting lead shot; this determined that mallards ingesting lead shot do not die from the experience!

Quite recently I spent an hour with Alastair Scott MP – discussing this very topic. Why not get Alastair to bring you over to the Wairarapa and we’ll give you ‘the guided tour’?

As I mentioned in my letter of May 2nd – if you need independent expert advice on wetlands and waterfowl please do not hesitate to contact myself or Bud Jones QSM – instead of Fish & Game.

We are also happy to call and see you at any time.

Yours sincerely